Nosey the elephant's owners arrested on animal cruelty charges

The fate of Nosey the Elephant is currently in the hands of a Lawrence County judge.

Posted: Dec 15, 2017 6:40 PM
Updated: Dec 16, 2017 3:22 PM


The Lawrence County Sheriff's office confirmed to WAAY 31 that Nosey the Elephant's owners were arrested on animal cruelty charges on Saturday. The sheriff's office said the couple turned themselves in. 

Officials said they were made aware of the warrants out for their arrest on Friday night after the hearing. Bond was
set at 1000 dollars each. Both Hugo and his wife have bonded out.  

The court proceedings over the custody of Nosey the Elephant reached its eleventh hour before a Lawrence County judge said she will release an order on her future at a later date.

The elephant was taken from its owner in November after she was found in a trailer owned by circus owner Hugo Liebel on the side of a Lawrence County road. Liebel's car broke down, and when authorities arrived, they were concerned about her condition.

Nosey was relocated to a Tennessee elephant sanctuary where she was evaluated, and on Friday, a Lawrence County District Court judge continues to hear arguments from both sides on whether or not the pachyderm can return to her owner.

Lawrence County called a veterinarian from the elephant sanctuary who said Nosey had problems with her feet and skin which could cause life-threatening health effects. The defense countered with a University of Florida veterinarian who argued there were no problems with her feet, and her skin issues are not life-threatening.

Many people representing animal activist groups are present for the case, as the elephant's fate is capturing national attention. One activist says she has been monitoring Nosey for more than two decades.

"We've always said that if Nosey just had her day in court things would be different and many of us have been involved for a very long time; some much longer than myself and I've dreamed of this day and we are very, very optimistic for a positive outcome for Nosey," says activist Denise Camera-Gaug.

Liebel took the stand in the final moments of today's hearing pleading his case to keep his elephant.

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